NL Resilience

Spatial Strategies for an Unknown Future

Spring 2012/2013 @ TU Delft
05 February 2013 / 28 June 2013

Resilient NL is a research by design studio by The Why Factory and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment that tested unpredictable changes in different vectors of society and their effect on spatial planning. The studio envisioned new tools to address this situation. The changes that were explored are surprising and potentially have a radical impact on the spatial character of the Netherlands.

Resilient NL centers the brief on the challenge how the country could become more resilient to be able to absorb sudden crisis or radical changes without losing its character. The study addresses and depicts fictional -‐yet realistically possible-‐ future ‘shock’ scenarios following existing prognosis, extrapolation of current trends and the impacts of (im) possible ‘black swans’.

The studio developed a methodology of investigating resilience based on ‘stress-testing’ parameters where the cause and the effects of the impact could be measured and evaluated in a quantified spatial model. The studio research includes fields such as economics, politics or resources.

The goal is to improve existing risk areas and their policies, developing ‘early warning systems’, among other measures in order to avoid or diminish unwanted collateral damages in case a surprise event occurs. This is done by developing principles, strategies and design elements for a more resilient urban planning system, one that is able to absorb dramatic and sudden changes while being able to ‘bounce back’ to its pre-shock state.

Its aim is to derive principles for the development of a more resilient urban planning culture. Resilient planning stands for a spatial policy that is able to absorb dramatic changes without losing its current spatial values, providing stability on the longer term, so to an extent it is a planning tool that aims to neutralize unwanted changes, it is an anti-event spatial device.

After a shocking event a Resilient NL should be able to ‘bounce back’ to its pre-‐shock state, or return to normal by use and testing of resilient strategies such as modularity, redundancy, robustness and flexibility.



Winy Maas, Felix Madrazo, Jeroen Zuidgeest (MVRDV), Bas Kalmeijer


Mark van den Ouden


Agata Majcherska, Barbara Jakubowska, Callum Andrews, Dilsad Anil, Elgol Lin, Koen Schaballie, Laura Coma Fusté, Maosen Geng, Mariana Pazos Gonzalez, Marta Rota, Nicola Docekal, Niek van Laere, René Dekart Singgih. Tom Thijssen, Xuefei Li, Anna De Putti Clara, Terradellas Rosell, Lawrence Lo, Marija Mateljan

Guest Critics

Henk Snoeken (Ministery of Infrastructure and Environment, Director of Spatial Planning)


Ministery of Infrastructure and Environment